The LA Galaxy thought they had done the job. They were 1-0 up, hardly a decisive victory, but a victory nonetheless and without conceding an away goal, they would head down to Monterrey for the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal in a reasonable position to advance to the final.
But then it all went awry.
Monterrey's pressure starting forcing the LA defense to make mistakes. The Mexican side's talent superiority began to show and in the 82nd minute, the Rayados broke through. Humberto Suazo equalized and the Galaxy's good first leg result was gone. But at least a draw would give them a chance to advance, even if it would make them heavy underdogs.
Only the Galaxy weren't going to get out with a draw either.
Aldo De Nigris broke LA hearts in stoppage time when he scored the winner, handing Monterrey a 2-1 lead heading back home for the second leg. Not only would the Galaxy have to win in Monterrey, but not they had to erase the Rayados' two away goals too.
A week later, LA's task looks just as tall as it did when the referee blew the final whistle at the Home Depot Center an for one glaring reason -- they are playing a team that is better than they are.
There is a reason that Monterrey are the two-time defending Champions League winner. Led by Victor Manuel Vucetich, Monterrey are one of the best teams in the region and they take the Champions League very seriously.
Suazo and De Nigris make up on of the best striker duos in CONCACAF and they are backed upby Walter Ayobi and Neri Cardozo, while Jesus Zavala and Severo Meza man the midfield. It's a level of talent that the Galaxy can only dream of and the Rayados continental experience, which LA lacks, was evident in the first leg.
At 1-0 up, knowing that a draw, any draw, would put them through to the final, the Galaxy had a fighting shot. Level at 1-1, where any win does the job, well, weirder things have happened. Trailing 2-1, though, LA head to Monterrey with just a dream of what could have been.
Match date/time: Wednesday, April 10; 10 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Tecnologico, Monterrey, Mexico
TV: Fox Soccer Channel (USA English), Galavision (USA Spanish)